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I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  56,348 ratings  ·  5,446 reviews
A leading new voice on race and justice lays bare what it's like to grow up a black woman in white Christian America, in this idea-driven memoir about how her determined quest for identity, understanding, and justice shows a way forward for us all.

"I had to learn to love blackness," Austin Channing Brown writes near the beginning of this searing, page-turning memoir. As a
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Kindle Edition, 208 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Convergent Books
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Corvus I'm an atheist and found the book to be a great read. It's far more about racial and social justice and discussions of the church fit into that. I act…moreI'm an atheist and found the book to be a great read. It's far more about racial and social justice and discussions of the church fit into that. I actually think atheists should read things like this to understand the importance of churches in peoples lives and why religions can be vehicles for liberation for some people. Even if it's not your thing, I think anyone can get something out of it.(less)
Tamara Thiam I am an English teacher. I would say that it is actually perfect for English learners! It is not too complicated. It is perfect for learning more Engl…moreI am an English teacher. I would say that it is actually perfect for English learners! It is not too complicated. It is perfect for learning more English. It is only 182 pages, and it is a small book. Hope this helps!(less)

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Shayla Mays
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the same way that not everyone was ready and could handle, Between the World and Me, this is another that some will have a hard time with. It was not meant to comfort white people. It's written to share a black experience. With that being said, if there is one book that could most accurately define my Christian black womanhood... my thoughts, my pain, my fear, my concerns, my frustrations, my awareness that I MUST press on despite not having much to cling to for hope... it's this book. I read ...more
Tiffany
Update on the second read-through. Turns out I gave that first copy away to my student, a senior black student, my advisee, who's "so done" (for good reason) with the institution where I work--an institution like many of the institutions Brown works for. I bought another copy to teach from this week in a Theology and Literature of the Black Body.

Finished this book today. Handed it to my white kids as soon as I closed the cover. Listen, I said.
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Rincey
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poc-author
Yeah, I'm going to need my own copy of this book so I can re-read it and mark it up. So many good truths in here.

Watch me discuss this book in my July wrap up: https://youtu.be/8kaQcaNn9uw
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Raven
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this book with the hope that Ms Brown would illuminate what actual justice or equality would look like. It was largely a memoir and a good one. I went school in the 70s and 80s so my experience was different but I was surprised to hear about hers as I had assumed things had changed somewhat since I had been in school. She seemed put off by the fact that the predominantly white school she attended taught and treated her through the lens of 'whiteness', but I am not sure how they could have ...more
Danielle
A short impactful portrayal of Austin’s life experience. I’ll never assume to know what she or any other minority experiences day to day. I am aware that white privilege is real and we can all do better to recognize the need for change.
Holly
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

This was short, but impactful. I consider myself, like probably most white people, to not be a racist. However this book opened my eyes a little more to the fact that in some ways I prioritize not being seen as a racist over educating myself in ways to actually not be racist. There's of course different shades of racism, from the KKK burning crosses all the way to daily microaggressions. I think the one I am most guilty of is the expectation of assimilation to white cultural norms, some
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Leigh Kramer
If you're at all familiar with Austin Channing Brown, you know she is a gifted communicator as both a writer and speaker. I had high hopes for her first book and I was hooked from the first page. I had intended to only read the first few chapters and before I knew it, I chucked my plans for the day and wrapped myself up in the pages of Austin's story.

By the time I finished reading, I was even more in awe of Austin. I'm Still Here is truly phenomenal.

Austin shares how even her very name challenge
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Brandice
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness is Austin Channing Brown’s story of growing up in a predominately white world. She talks about her childhood and church, her family, her experiences in college and the work world, and throughout all of this, embracing being Black.

Austin is spot on in her discussion of many workplaces. I rolled my eyes multiple times in frustration on her behalf as she recounted comments and challenges from coworkers, even those alleging they meant no h
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April
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book and a must read for anyone who identifies with any of the following:
-is white
-is a person of color
-is Christian
-does anti racist work
-wants to do anti racist work
-anyone and everyone

I identified with so many of her experiences. It was just empowering to read stories that spoke directly to my own experiences and to have this book to point to as a reference point for white friends/allies/acquaintances looking to me to explain things to them.
Raymond
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-stars
"This book is my story about growing up in a Black girl's body."

"I am not a priest for the white soul."

"Our only chance at dismantling racial injustice is being more curious about its origins than we are worried about our comfort."

This is a powerful book. Many of Brown's experiences being black in a white world have echoed my own. However, they are more visceral because she lives with the double bind of being a black female. Her book is part memoir and also has elements of James Baldwin and Ta-N
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Jenna
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: race, non-fiction, wake-up
"Even when the world doesn’t believe that Black bodies are capable of love. Even when it doesn’t believe that I survive on intimacy, that I need other beings for love. Even when I would prefer to be immune, I am human. I demand intimacy. I demand tomorrow. I demand love."

I was hesitant to read I'm Still Here after seeing in several reviews that the author talks a lot about her religion. I thought it would be prevalent throughout the book, taking away from its message.

I decided to read it anyway,
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Chanequa Walker-Barnes
Absolutely breathtaking! Just a few pages into this book, I knew that I had to finish it in one day. Austin Channing Brown does what many of us have been needing for so long: she centers her Black womanhood in her memoir of racial justice, reconciliation, and Christianity. By doing so, she demonstrates what womanist theologians have consistently claimed: when you begin with the experiences and needs of Black women, you articulate a theology that encompasses all. This is a memoir, to be sure, but ...more
Mina
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Concisely written with distinct examples of what it means to live in a predominantly white world.
"To be a black person in this world and to be relatively conscious of your blackness, is to be in a rage almost all the time."- James Baldwin
Figuring out how to control that rage so that it won’t destroy you is a mind trip because as soon as you think you have it made, something else happens sometimes even something worse.
Also, here's the thing that's part of the rage which can be summe
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Sara
I don't currently rate books I'm reading for my own education/personal growth or what could be classed as memoirs.

This is a very personal view on what it is to be a Black Christian woman in America today. It looks at the daily microaggressions Austin experiences, the evolution of racism and how this has changed her outlook on life as well as examining some hard truths about white fragility and white tears. Unlike some recent books I've read on the topic, I appreciated that this was very singula
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Lisa
This was a tough read for a do-gooder white lady to read. Very convicting about the ways that my needs trump those of people of color and how much I want them to adapt to me and my group. I want diversity without having to change. Very personal and explicit. Not for the faint of heart—but more of us white people should be brave.
Elizabeth Green
While I am giving this book a two star rating I do believe that I did in fact learn a few things from this book and am better for it. Also it did cause me to think and evaluate how I perceive the world and if my thought process needs some tweaking.

What I liked:
Brown was honest and wrote with so much passion. Brown also shared some of her personal life expierence regarding racism and talks about sometimes theses things are not seen by the majority of the the United States. I also like how she tal
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Ali Edwards
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is nothing else to say besides this: this is an important book that should be read by everyone. Stories matter, especially those who have been marginalized over history.
Mehrsa
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everything Brown says is right and true. She writes it clearly and well. And everyone who has not already internalized the message of white privilege needs to keep reading these books until they can understand what it is like to not have white privilege. However, there is so little in this book and in others that might push us forward. And don't get me wrong, I don't mean optimism and hope, but change. I get the feeling in all these books that white supremacy is so ingrained that whatever is don ...more
Mari


This was an excellent collection of essays with a clear and concise voice. It was also such a personally meaningful experience for me, a black, Christian woman who has also often been the only one in the room. This was clear-eyed and honest. It managed to both be realistic and hard-hitting, but hopeful and full of love. There wasn't much here that felt new to me, in terms of ideas, but they were things well conveyed and tied to Austin's personal experiences. She tells her own story well. I will
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Erin Beall
Absolutely magnificent. The female, Christian answer (not critique, not correction, but response— as in, call and response) to Coates’s Between the World and Me. A must read for Christians of conscience. 5 stars.
chantel nouseforaname
You know this is the second time I started reading this book. A few months ago I read the first chapter and was like.. okay, I get it but it wasn't enough to draw me in. This time around I was like, I should give this book the attention it deserves and I'm glad that I did. The second maybe third to the fourth chapter was really where it jumped off.

There is so much power in this book. Austin Channing Brown started off mad slow, taking her time to dive into the contents on the cover. Maybe it's b
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Annie Rim
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I'm Still Here" was written for black women. As a white woman, I spent the majority of the book feeling like a voyeur - I learned from the stories but rarely connected with Austin's. And that's the point. I need to read more stories in which I don't see any part of myself. I need to listen and learn and listen some more. Austin Channing Brown reminds me that it's not her job to educate me on my journey to understanding racial justice. But this book definitely helped me see my own uncomfortable ...more
MissBecka Gee
Straight away she addresses that her name makes people assume she is a white man.
Truth: I assumed the author was male when I saw her name.
She had my attention.
Austin has a wonderful charisma and her stories are both lovey and at times...absolutely abhorring.
I think my favourite part was when she took us though an average days interactions at her workplace.
All the things she presents are (what should be) normal tasks/interactions at work. The number of hoops she jumps though at work to make su
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Ellie
Austin Channing Brown starts her story of her life as a black woman in white America by explaining how she got her name: so that when she grew up and applied for jobs, she would get an interview before the possible employer discovered she was African American and thus have a shot at getting the job.

Brown describes her experience of diversity: there is a quota and brochures proudly show that it is being met, but the employee is not listened to and is expected to be patient and understanding of ra
...more
Marcia
It's always difficult to rate an autobiography, as it seems ludicrous to assign a star rating to someone's lived experiences. Add in the racial tensions and the heavy content and I feel reluctant to assign anything below 5 stars.

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown is a collection of the author's lived experiences, a description of life for a black woman within a system created by white people with for the express purpose of promoting the white pe
...more
Whitney
Overall: A powerful and angry memoir detailing a black women's experiences in a society built in favor of whites. Great attention to detail but overall lacking in practical solutions or advice on how to improve the system 3/5 or 5.5/10.

Summary: A memoir of sorts detailing the author's life and experience as a black women living in a society built and favored to whites. The books starts off with explaining that her parents named her Austin so that potential employers would “assume you are a white
...more
Rachel A.  Dawson
This has jumped to the top of my “everyone in America needs to read this book ASAP” list and I cannot rave about it enough. Austin has so powerfully and honestly told her story in a way that has opened my eyes even more and changed me in ways I won’t forget. This is just simply a must-read. It’s incredible and I’m grateful for her voice and work in a world that has so, so far to go
Kathleen
4.45 rounded up to 5 stars. This is a powerful book! I'M STILL HERE: BLACK DIGNITY IN A WORLD MADE FOR WHITENESS by Austin Channing Brown is about how her determined quest for identity, understanding and justice shows a way forward for us all.
Austin Channing Brown writes about her life growing up to be a black woman in the USA.
As a black baby girl her parents gave her the name Austin Channing Brown so that when she became old enough to apply for jobs, the potential employers would see the masc
...more
Tiernan
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, favs
Listened to this entire audiobook on a long drive tonight...I’ll be recommending this for the rest of my life. Every white person needs to read and hear these powerful words. Not only that, but it is a beautifully written memoir by a writer I absolutely love.
Meaghan Lee
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituology, 2018
I wish I could give this ten stars.
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Austin Channing Brown is a media producer, author, and speaker providing inspired leadership on racial justice in America. She is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness and the Executive Producer of The Next Question: A Web Series Imagining How Expansive Racial Justice Can Be. Her workshops are incisive, fun, disarming, an ...more

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There are many ways to take action against racism. Reading in order to learn more about oppression and how to oppose it is just one of those...
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“When you believe niceness disproves the presence of racism, it’s easy to start believing bigotry is rare, and that the label racist should be applied only to mean-spirited, intentional acts of discrimination. The problem with this framework—besides being a gross misunderstanding of how racism operates in systems and structures enabled by nice people—is that it obligates me to be nice in return, rather than truthful. I am expected to come closer to the racists. Be nicer to them. Coddle them.” 58 likes
“White people desperately want to believe that only the lonely, isolated “whites only” club members are racist. This is why the word racist offends “nice white people” so deeply. It challenges their self-identification as good people. Sadly, most white people are more worried about being called racist than about whether or not their actions are in fact racist or harmful.” 36 likes
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